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Trust and Law Abidingness: A Proactive Model of Social Regulation

Tyler, Tom
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Boston University Law Review. 81:361.

In this essay Tom Tyler explores the ways in which members of the public experience the social regulatory activities of the police and the courts. In particular he expresses concern for the relevant experiences of members of two minority groups – African-Americans and Hispanics. His goal is to consider the implications of his research for models of policing and of court administration, in the interests of finding effective ways to regulate social behavior. Tyler’s basic argument is that legal scholars have much to gain from changing the way they think about the general approach to social regulation that has dominated legal scholarship for the last several decades. He proposes and empirically defends a proactive model of social regulation based upon encouraging and maintaining public trust in the character and motives of legal authorities. This public trust would be sustained by process-based policing and process-oriented problem-solving by the courts.


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